Alfreton Town 2, Ebbsfleet United 2
Alfreton Town can consider themselves extremely unfortunate not to have completed their comeback with maximum points on Saturday, after conceding a two goal deficit to Ebbsfleet United by half-time at the Impact Arena.
Goals from Liam Enver-Marum after just five minutes and Calum Willock in the 45th minute left manager Nicky Law fuming at the interval, but the Reds twice struck the Ebbsfleet crossbar between the goals as well as stretching keeper Preston Edwards to the limit.
Almost incessant Alfreton attacks after the break did salvage a draw with goals from Anton Brown and Nathan Jarman, but the talking point was a\blatant hand-ball by United sub Paul Lorraine 11 minutes from time from a Jake Moult shot.
Josh Law’s fourth minute corner saw Jarman head down for Leigh Franks to hit the top of the bar from 12 yards, but within moments Enver-Marum’s angled drive across Reds’ keeper Dan Lowson from ten yards had given the visitors from Kent the lead.
Theo Streete’s header drifted wide from another Law corner, then a strong run by Moult in the 20th minute petered out with a tame shot from the edge of the area that Edwards held comfortably.
Alfreton fans held their breath in the 24th minute when Lowson brought down Willock outside the area, but the latter was deemed to have been going away from goal and the home keeper was relieved to receive a yellow card.
Matt Wilson’s header from Connor Franklin’s 31st minute free-kick was tipped over at full stretch by Edwards, then three minutes later the Ebbsfleet keeper had to push a Franks header against the bar from an Andy Holdsworth corner.
Franks was in the mix again from another Holdsworth corner guiding a header on to the roof of the net, but against the run of play United scored again on the stroke of half-time when Willock’s header from a Lanre Azeez corner was judged to have crossed the line despite Law’s clearance.
The advantage was reduced just four minutes after the re-start when both Streete and Paul Clayton had efforts blocked from Jamie Mullan’s cross, with Holdsworth’s ensuing corner being headed in neatly at the near post by Brown.
A quality ball down the left by Moult led to the 64th minute equaliser after Jarman had been pushed by Ebbsfleet skipper Ian Simpemba, Holdsworth’s free-kick bobbling around the goalmouth for an age before Jarman fired home from eight yards through a forest of legs.
Edwards was busy again five minutes later, turning over a strong drive by Mullan, then in the 72nd minute it was Brown’s turn to be thwarted by the crossbar with his header after Moult had seen a brace of shots blocked.
The visitors had their moments in the latter stages, with Willock heading on to the roof of the net from a Craig Stone cross, then Yado Mambo fired over from a good position before the controversial decision not to award the Reds a penalty.
A measure of Alfreton’s pressure was their tally of 13 corners throughout the 90 minutes with an average of one every seven minutes, but at least they have broken their duck of not having previously picked up a single point in Saturday games so far this season.
Alfreton: Lowson; Law, Franklin, Streete, M.Wilson (Mullan h/t), Brown, Moult, Clayton (Ellison 62), Franks, Jarman, Mackin (Holdsworth 29). Unused subs: Senior, Hawes.
Attendance: 661 (59 from Kent).